Part of the problem when we take offense at others is that we reveal our sense of self-righteousness. Others are wrong, we are right. They are bad, we are good… so we think. This is what Pastor Brad called having a case of “Everyone is an Idiot Except Me.” Sound familiar?
Once again, the Bible speaks right to our human condition. Jesus told a parable about this.
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable:
10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.
12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
When have you been tempted, like the Pharisee, to insist on your own goodness and righteousness? What’s wrong with the Pharisee’s approach?
What is so right about the tax collector’s example to us?
Consider this: only sinners need a Savior. If we are really that good, why do we need Jesus? The truth is, of course, we’re not that good, and yet he loves us anyway. This means our ability to enter into God’s heaven is not something we earn but a gift that we cannot earn.
Give thanks to God for his generosity to forgive you, to love you, to save you, warts and all.
O God, I hear the teaching of Jesus that those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and yet if I’m honest, I will say it is still so very tempting to toot my own horn. I hear his promise that those who humble themselves will be exalted, and yet my pride gets in the way. Save me, Lord, from self-righteousness, and instead wash me with the blood of your Son, Jesus, that I may be covered with his righteousness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.